The IELTS test is available in two modules i.e. the academic module and the general training module and is made up of four tests sections i.e. reading, writing, speaking and listening. The scoring system of the test has undergone a number of changes and the present scoring system is different as compared to what it was in the past. The system that is being used to judge the candidates performance is that which came in effect from 1 July 2007. In order to attain a good test score it is a must that the candidate must clear each of the tests with good bands. To get admission in a good educational institution in U.K, Australia, Canada and some other countries the candidate must try to secure a good score in IELTS. The score requirement is different for different types of courses. The authorities of that particular institution decide the score required to be eligible to get admission in a particular course.
After appearing for the test, the candidate will have to wait for at least two weeks for the score to be processed.
Interpretation of the IELTS Score
The score in IELTS is interpreted on the band score basis. The performance of the student is graded on the range of 1 to 9 bands. If the student is given 1 band in a section then it denotes that the students English skills are very poor, whereas, if the student secures 9 bands in any of the test sections then it is interpreted that the students ability to understand English is very good.
The student can receive his result in two weeks time from the date on which he appeared for the test. The band score for the entire four test sections i.e. reading, writing, speaking and listening is given on the scale of 1 to 9.
Band 1 denotes that the student is a non-user of English language; band 2 states that the student is an intermittent user of the English language. Band 3 denotes that the student is an extremely limited user of the language. If the student secures 4 bands in his test then it tells that he is a limited user of the English language. Securing 5 bands denotes that the student is a modest user and band 6 tells that he is a competent user. If the student gets band 7 in this test it means that he is a good user of the English language. Band 9, that is the highest band in the test depicts that the student is an expert user of the English language.
The student will have to appear for all the four test sections and will have to score separately for each module. Then all the four bands, one related to each module will be added up and an average score will be taken out by dividing it by 4.
Basic Score Requirement
The minimum IELTS score requirement varies from university to university. A few universities may demand a score of 5 bands, whereas others may demand a score of 7.5 bands, depending upon the course for which the student wants to seek admission. The basic band score that a student should secure to get admission in any good institution is 6 to 6.5. Some universities in England give admission into Arts and Social Science courses only if the student is able to attain a test score of 6.5 bands. For undergraduate law course, the student must get a score of 6.5 bands. For postgraduate business and management course the student should fulfill the test result requirement of 7 bands. A research student who wants to take up a non-clinical project will have to get a minimum score of 6.5 bands, whereas a clinical project research student will have to get a score of 7 bands.
Change in IELTS Score
Earlier the sections of listening and reading were scored as half bands, whereas the sections of writing and speaking were marked as full bands, but with effect from July 2007, a change has been introduced in the score system of IELTS. Now the test sections of writing and speaking can be graded by using half band scores i.e. the writing and the speaking can be scored as 6.5 or 7.5.
This change in the test score has been introduced to provide the student with more clear and exact information regarding their English speaking skills. The change in the test score has been introduced after a continuous interaction and discussion with test takers, instructors, guides and various other concerned organizations all over the globe. The reason for bringing about a change in the score is that a large number of organizations feel that they find the half band to be very beneficial as it allows them to point out clearly the level of English that is required more precisely in a student.
The changed score will also give teachers and the test taker detailed information on his performance in each test module.
Benefits of the Changed IELTS Score
The benefits of the changed scoring system will be that the various IELTS recognizing organization will get a chance to fix their basic essential requirements needed for admission, for giving jobs etc, and all this will be done on a more precise and detailed report regarding the student’s score in each of the four test modules. The test report form will also benefit from the change in the score. The student will receive exact information and report of his strengths and weak points upon which he should try to work hard.
The changed result of the test will be much easier to understand by everyone, as the students performance in each of the four test sections will be marked in the same manner. This does not mean that there will be any change in the manner in which the writing and the speaking tests are assessed. They will be assessed in the same manner as earlier. The change in the result will not bring any change in the overall test score. Thus, there is no need to bring any change in the test requirement.